Monday, January 29, 2018

Janice Budd - in God's garden

Below are Gerry McDaniel's reflections on the excellence and faith of Janice Budd, the late award-winning Jamaican journalist. 

*_From a Budd she grew to a  blooming flower in God's beautiful  garden_*

Yesterday I joined my media colleagues inside the Swallowfield Chapel in Kingston to say goodbye to an exceptional human being. 

In death, as in life, Janice Marjorie Budd was a uniting force in a divisive world. For two intense hours, there was no evidence of the typical bravado and egotistical vibe that characterizes most media gatherings. 

Inside that Chapel, we were all united by the stark realities of our shared humanity. We wept, we chuckled, laughed out loud...the mood moved through solidarity, sorrow, anger at the thief of cancer, introspection and personal hope for life everlasting. 

The experience was at once emotionally draining and liberating. 

It was *church* in the most redemptive and restorative sense. 

By its difference, it was a clear reminder of why I tend to dislike funeral. THIS was not your garden variety sad-fest. It was a rich send off for a sister sold out to Christ in her demonstrated conviction.

It was dignified and devoid of bling, drama and national hype. It was intimate, serene and sincere. 

No distraction of a body in the sanctuary, it was a celebration of the indestructability of the soul that dies in Christ. 

The lead text summarizes the context beautifully.

_1 Thessalonians 4: 13. Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15. According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Encouraging it was too.
Extremely encouraging. 
... And yes, challenging. 

 I was personally challenged to step out of the way while God works his wonders. In less than 50 years, Janice Budd demonstrated what a life well lived looks like. She used her talent for good.she pursued work that truly mattered in the long haul from the the hilltop home of the Jippy-jappa - Westwood - to the world of media, cutting through public and private sectors, with brief stops in Corporate. 

Through it all she was obsessed with quality, imbued with an engaging smile and a calm and beautiful spirit. 


The road less traveled, the narrow door. She chose to abandon the default position of bullyism that marks the practice of so many journalists to adding value to our understanding of this complex little space that we share. 

In his homily, Pastor David Henry tagged one of Jan's favourite expressions, "all for God's glory".

As her brother Trevor mentioned in the eulogy, even in what could have been the depths of depression over her deteriorating condition, when asked if she questioned God about the situation. She took the high road, saying, "No enuh, I am just listening to what God is trying to teach me."

So the message was entitled... 

*Finishing strong... All for God's glory.*

In a concise and pointed message, Pastor Henry touched many sensitive points but I will share my favourite two. 

*Man cannot fix the mess we're in*
Pastor Henry who is also an attorney at law was recently tapped to be part of a team to look into the execution of the State of Emergency currently in force in sections of St. James. 

While he will apply himself prayerfully and dutifully to that assignment he reminded in no uncertain terms that none of this mess... This national crisis of runaway murders can be fixed by external measures. He then dropped a gem for all times. 

*_The only foolproof Crime Plan is to love God  and love your neighbour as yourself_*

Not surprisingly, when I shared that through social media, the skeptics came out in full attack mode. One sarcastically wanted to know if that was like praying and waiting... 

You know what the scriptures say about the message of the cross to those who have not yet surrendered... It makes no sense. (Ref. 1 Corinthians 1:18)

At the core of the brilliance of this statement by the good pastor was the message of reconciliation. It is as incomprehensible as it is revolutionary. 

Romans 5: 8. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10. For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11. Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

The other point that resonated with me powerfully was this:

*True commitment to Christ by the standards of the world requires a 'scandalous exclusivity:*
The battle is not ours. We sow in faith and God will bless. His word never returns without some effect. 

_Isaiah 55: 10. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11. so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

From yesterday's whirlwind of emotions and introspection God has graciously granted me a quiet sense of peace and hope this morning, even as I feel the gap of Janice's physical absence from us. 

I want to encourage you with this reminder. 

_2 Thessalonians 3: 16. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 18. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Have a great Sunday and an awesome week. 

Nuff Love an' Bare BlessN
Your Brother
28 January 2018

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